How marvelous that there is more than one way to look at a word!

This is where syntax matters.

This is where coach training has been so useful for me.

This word DISCIPLINE actually has more than one meaning.  And what it means to you, may mean something different to me.  So when a client talks of the word or concept of DISCIPLINE – what do they actually mean?

This is what is behind the thinking in my thinking and how I came up with these seeds of thoughts. 

Which will serve you better as a leader, parent, or coach?

The noun or verb?

An end rather than a means

I am of the camp that it’s the end and not the means in how this word can serve me.

You can’t GIVE someone discipline, but you can certainly create an environment to allow them to CREATE it themselves. As a servant leader, my interest for my team or child or client is to partner with them to help them possess it.

Let’s think about the strength of these words:




Some tips to create an environment for the creation of discipline

  • Acknowledge that your objective is to activate and be in search of the noun. You want to create discipline. You want to create ownership of it. You want it to become a trait (such as I am disciplined – this is now a part of who you are and not how someone applied it to you). There is strength in how the word is used, hence, the beauty of studying semantics of the English language (especially in coaching). 
  • Seek meaningful outside support. While the intent is meant to create something internal, it’s much easier with systems, accountability measures, partners, and specialists around you to help you create it. This support has be for you and with you. Their intentions are in support of your creation. For example, I sought the help of a triathlon coach who truly cared about my outcomes and personal intentions to grow this discipline. It’s not only putting the training plan in place, but asking for reflection, connecting the science behind the plan, explaining what’s happening and setting expectations for how I will feel and experience it. You can always encourage a partner, mentor, or a friend to play these roles as well. Or seek the guidance of a coach. Just have support! 
  • Use learning loops. I love learning loops and there is no better introspection and growth than being asked to evaluate:

What are you learning about yourself?

With this learning, how does it change the way you approach….?

What are you noticing about the way you learn and apply?

  • Be a creature of CONSCIOUS habit.  Not just a creature of habit.  The conscious part means, right now, now that you are aware of it, go and put into your calendar all the parts you want to spend time doing.  This is being intentional with your intentions.  For example, I am committed to exercising daily.  I have put into my calendar, blocks of time from Monday – Fridays that allow for me exercise.  Literally, I have made an appointment with myself and added some buffer for shower and cool down.  I will schedule this for 3 months in advance.  It’s almost obsessive!  
  • Set up barriers to honor your choices.  Life will come and throw you potatoes….  sometimes a lot of them!  So what’s useful is to set up boundaries so you can stay true to these choices.  This is how you protect the build of habits.  So it’s almost like a wrapper for your habit.  For me, I learn to say NO.  When you say YES to something, what are you saying NO to?  Keep that in mind.  This mindset and the ability to exercise it takes time, but a critically important part to being successful. 
  • Have a method to be able to measure progress:  How will you know you’re doing it right?  Is it actual progress versus planned?  Is it reflection or mindset evaluation?  Just find a way to know that the effort is well spent.  For me, I use a training tool that tracks actual versus planned activities.  And then, of course, the big race day.  How are my performance metrics versus expectation?  How am I feeling versus how I should be feeling given if I had discipline or not?

You can’t GIVE someone discipline, but you can certainly CREATE an environment for them to possess it.

This concept of discipline is prevalent in all areas of my life, and one application of having it is in the discipline of training for a full ironman race.  1 year and 2 months of staying true to a plan, the outputs, the volume, the self reflection, and self improvements to make this happen.

I didn’t do this on my own.  I had 2 coaches.  I had a team.  I had full support.  This is what I mean by creating an environment to support having and owning discipline.

Just start

Start small, but start.  Discipline isn’t built over night (kind of like Rome!) and we all integrate is differently over time.  On the same note, having that pulse over time is also important to know that you’re heading in the right direction.